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The Hag passes the first player the pack of cards, they are made from crushed leaves and moth wings. I push back my repulsion; I have a job to do.


The fey to my right, casts her enormous red eyes over the pack, she lifts her hand gracefully over the pack, she has four fingers, each with an extra joint. She whispers a charm, in her own language, a ward against cheaters or bad luck. I do not know it’s meaning, it sounds like wind singing over water.


The deck comes to me. I put my hand over it, feeling clumsy. Words from my grandmother tumble from my mouth passing so quickly over my brain that I cannot remember the words. It is just some old ditty that I was taught as a child.  Something about the protection of the black cat… It’s a formality anyway; if these players choose to cheat, their magic is stronger than anything I’ve picked up.


The pack passed to the next player, the black goblin. He spits gunk though his black sharpened teeth, it hits the deck with a spat. I wince. He smiles at me, his teeth stained with blood.


The hag, the game master, deals the cards. They slide over the table like they are flying, her six spindly arms making light work of it.


I look at the sprite in the jar on the table. Her tiny blue butterfly wings are bent, she may never fly again. Her body shimmers a pure white light in this dark gambling temple. She looks me in the eyes. She pleads for me to leave now, leave her to be won as a prize and lost forever. But she is my friend, she has always been my friend and I cannot leave now.


The Hag is done. She raises her head, still hidden in the darkness of her hood, but green teeth, covered in black mould, move in the dark.


“You, Human. I am cursed to tell you the three outcomes of this game: If you win you may take your prize and leave here safely, no one will harm you. If you loose, you and the prize will be given to the winner. To with what they will.”


The fey’ huge red eyes searched me they were half the length of her face. Her auburn  gown was made of shimmering human hair.


“Or you may leave now, but I cannot grantee your safety out of the door. Do you stay?”


I nod.


 


(I really enjoyed writing this and I was hoping to write a lot more, but ran out of time, I may continue the story later and hopefully get to a point where I think it's finnished. I hope you enjoy... : )  )

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